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Erin Smith, Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi, is the advisory board chairman (ABC) for Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi. She has also served the chapter as recruitment advisor (2007-2009). Erin was selected to participate in the Fraternity's inaugural Alumnae Service Trip in February 2016.
Undergraduate officer positions held: I served as vice president membership (now chief recruiting officer), deputy to the vice president of education (now chief education officer), and on numerous committees.
How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? I received an email about some positions that were available at Epsilon Zeta Chapter, and I was encouraged by my peers to apply.
What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? I wanted to give back to the Fraternity for all it has given me in life. After I served as recruitment advisor, I took a Theta break to open a restaurant. Too many years passed without Theta in my life, so I couldn't let the opportunity to volunteer again pass me up. If you ever get the chance to volunteer in some capacity for the Fraternity, I strongly recommend it. It's life-changing!
How long have you been a Theta volunteer? Altogether 3 years (currently, 15 months continuously).
Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor? Everyone I have had any encounter with has made an impact in my life, from advisors to ELCs and headquarters staff to volunteers. There is one person whom I consider a role model, mentor, and friend who has made me a better ABC and better person, and that is Stacey Jarrett Martin, Alpha Mu/Missouri (college district director, District V). She teaches me, inspires all those around her, and leads by example. She is well respected and is a great example of a leading woman.
Why do you stay involved with Theta? I could not live without Theta in my life! On the college side of things, I do it for the women in the chapter. I love watching them grow, guiding them through difficult decisions and times in their life, and seeing them become successful through their college careers. Personally, though, it's definitely the people and the influence they have in my life.
Do you have a special volunteering moment? There are so many, but two stand out. I had no idea what to expect when I became ABC for Epsilon Zeta Chapter. I loved watching the executive board grow as women throughout their officer terms, and I realized that they also helped me grow in the process. I am so proud of the women they have become since I first met them! My other moment would be receiving the University of Mississippi's Panhellenic Advisor of the Year award in 2015.
Do you have a special Theta moment? I was very fortunate to attend the inaugural Alumnae Service Trip in New Orleans this year (thank you Kappa Alpha Theta and Theta Foundation). Talk about an amazing experience; it was life-changing! It was beyond my expectations, and the impact we made on the lives we touched will forever be remembered. The other women who joined me on this trip made the experience what it was. We all came as strangers and left as best friends.
What do you do outside of Theta? Do you have a profession or personal passion? I am a nurse assistant. I get to help people daily! I am also a CASA volunteer; that is such a rewarding experience, but often difficult. I also serve as an ambassador for the Oxford Mississippi Chamber of Commerce. I have a passion for helping others; anytime the opportunity presents itself, I go for it!
Do you know a Theta who's made a difference in her local Theta chapter? Let us know!